Three Arrests Made in Cold Case of 16-Year-Old Amber Woods

Amber Woods
Manatee County Sheriff's Office

Three arrests have been made in connection with the cold case of 16-year-old Amber Woods, who was found dead 14 years ago along a Florida road.

Manatee County Sheriff Rick Wells announced Monday morning that the three suspects who face charges in connection with the cold case are Ralph Williams, 35, Tyjuan Williams, 32, and Jamaine Brown, 37.

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Brown is related to the other suspects, as he is their half-brother.

Woods was found dead at 16, three miles away from the Hardee County line on February 11, 2016. She was last seen alive by her aunt at their residence around 12:30 a.m.

A driver spotted her body 20 feet away from the road seven miles away from her house, detectives said.

An autopsy from the next day showed that she was killed by a gunshot wound to the back.

In the days before Woods’s murder, Wells said Ralph wanted to end his relationship with Amber and hatched a plan with his brothers to kidnap her and kill her in a remote area, WTVT reported.

At the time, detectives had some leads but could not build a strong case against Ralph.

Then in April 2019, the sheriff’s office re-examined the case using cellular tracking software to follow the cell travel of the brothers the morning of Woods’s disappearance and death.

Wells learned that Ralph’s phone had been in the area where Amber’s body had been found.

Detectives interviewed Brown in November and discovered the brothers had driven Woods to a rural location. The boys got out of the vehicle, and Tyjuan allegedly shot her. Ralph and Brown allegedly moved her body to an area with high grass and fled the scene.

Police issued an arrest warrant for Brown on a kidnapping charge, which he pleaded guilty to on December 18.

Authorities charged Ralph and Tyjuan with second-degree murder on December 15. Ralph was in Polk County Jail on unrelated charges, and Tyjuan was in Hardee County Jail on unrelated charges.

Both remain in jail without bond awaiting extradition.


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